Victoria to host 2026 Commonwealth Games across cities
Victoria will host the 2026 Commonwealth Games with the Australian state's regional centres organising the majority of events in a break from the traditional single host city model.
The Games will be staged in March 2026 across multiple cities and regional hubs including Melbourne, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Gippsland, each with its own athletes' village.
The opening ceremony will take place at the iconic 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) announced on Tuesday.
The announcement follows an exclusive dialogue period between the CGF, Commonwealth Games Australia (CGAus) and Victoria.
An initial 16 sports, including Twenty20 cricket, have been put forward for the Games, with further sports to be added later this year.
Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews said: "It's a great honour to have Victoria chosen as the host venue for the 2026 Commonwealth Games - we can't wait to welcome the world to all of our state.
"The Commonwealth Games in regional Victoria is great for jobs, hospitality and our economy."
Australia has staged the Commonwealth Games on five occasions, with Victoria playing host to the Melbourne 2006 Games; widely considered one of the most successful editions of the event in history.
The country has also staged the Games in Sydney in 1938, Perth in 1962, Brisbane in 1982 and most recently Gold Coast in 2018. Victoria has also hosted the Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo in 2004.
CGF President Dame Louise Martin said: "The Commonwealth Games Federation is absolutely delighted to award the 2026 Commonwealth Games to Victoria.
"Commonwealth Games Australia and the Victorian Government have set out a bold and innovative vision for hosting our major multi-sport event. In Victoria, we believe we have found the perfect partner for the next stage of our journey."
The 2026 Games will be the 23rd edition of the major multi-sport competition, which first began in Hamilton, Canada in 1930.
Victoria is a world-leading major events and tourism destination. The state has a strong track record for staging high profile sporting competitions including The Australian Open tennis grand slam, the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup.
The state also regularly hosts elite cricket, golf and Australian Rules Football competition.